SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The crew of a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter located two missing divers who were rescued by a Good Samaritan vessel Saturday afternoon, approximately 12 nautical miles just off Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico.
The divers had been missing since 11:29 a.m. Saturday, when the dive boat operator lost sight of them and reported them missing.
Search and Rescue Coordinators at Coast Guard Sector San Juan received a VHF marine radio communication on Channel 16 from a Good Samaritan vessel that was on scene with the missing divers’ dive boat. The divers reportedly were fishing in the vicinity of buoy six off Cabo Rojo, when the dive boat operator lost sight of them.
Coast Guard watchstanders diverted a Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter from a training mission to search for the divers.
The Coast Guard helicopter arrived on scene and shortly thereafter located the divers’ surface marker buoy. Moments later, the two divers were found to be in good condition signaling the helicopter for assistance by waving their arms, splashing water and waving a cloth. The crew of the Coast Guard helicopter vectored-in the Good Samaritan vessel that came alongside and recovered the divers from the water.
“We were fortunate to have Good Samaritans with operating radios nearby to assist in the search,” said Lt. James Cepa, MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircraft commander. “The early notification was paramount to finding these gentlemen quickly. Even on the nicest days, it’s challenging to see a person in the water when searching 10 plus miles offshore. Having the proper safety equipment, wearing bright colors, and staying together all help aircrews when searching open waters.”